Saturday, March 27, 2004

9 Counter

We know what the future of the book is--you’re staring at it on your screen. The past, however, will forever be much more fascinating. I have Number One of Counter published by the University of Iowa Center for the Book. In fact, if I were to buy numbers 7-11, I’d own the complete run, because it ended publication in 2001. Just six issues is like having a full course in matters of the book, and enough to make the non-specialist like myself weep.

My first issue is an octavo, six-page tri-fold with photographic portraits and a tipped-in paper sample. The major article is a discussion of commonplace books and the role of book studies in the English course, an interview with Professor Max Thomas by Susanna Ashton. I probably received my first issue because I was a member of SHARP, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing. The second issue went to 12 pages.

The first page message to the reader explains the title

A counter, as most printers know, is the white space within a piece of type, the center of the letter “O” for instance. . . It is a recalcitrant and multi-faceted word, one whose many definitions reflect, we hope, the mix of materials & attitudes that will appear in this newsletter. ”
According to its web page, "Centers" at Iowa are concepts rather than locations, and The University of Iowa Center for the Book is only in part an exception. It oversees a number of facilities and produces tangible products, but primarily it represents a community of faculty, staff, students, and local book specialists with diverse interests in all facets of book production, distribution, and use.

Fall 1994, Number I
Status: ceased after no. 11, 2001
ISSN (na)
Publication schedule, quarterly, but vol. 1 had 5 issues
Subject: History of the Book
The University of Iowa Center for the Book
154 English-Philosophy Building
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1408
free to Friends of the Center
Director: Kim Merker

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